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About caskie

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  1. Lovely to read all this Colin! For anyone interested, the full spec of this organ, including mixture compositions, may be downloaded from http://www.nicholsonorgans.co.uk/pf/great-malvern-priory/.
  2. I hope I can help clarify the recent history of this instrument. When the organ was built in 1936 (not 1937 as is stated on the RBC advert), the pipework was all made and voiced by Hermann Eule of Germany but everything else was made by Hill, Norman & Beard. The organ has mechanical action for the manuals, pedals and all couplers, but charge pneumatic slider actions and stop actions. It was a wedding gift to Lady Susi Jeans from her husband, the eminent physicist Sir James Jeans and was installed in their home (Cleveland Lodge) in Dorking. As is well-known, the Jeans' home eventually became home to the RSCM in 1996, and it was during this era that Harrison & Harrison undertook some restoration work in 1999. Our friends in Durham will be able to confirm the precise scope of work, but my recollection was that it was not a total restoration but a thorough cleaning, repairs to pipework, and releathering of all pneumatic actions. In 2006, Nicholson & Co. was commissioned by Birmingham Conservatoire to move the organ from Cleveland Lodge to the Birmingham Conservatoire building. As well as the relocation, completed that year, this work included provision of a new blower, provision of a platform and side facades to the instrument (it had been in a chamber in Cleveland Lodge), re-leathering of the main reservoir (not done in 1999), repairs to the soundboards (not restored in 1999 or 2006; just splits repaired). The keys were re-covered (not sure what they were originally, but by 2006 they had black wooden naturals and white plastic-capped sharps) in white cow bone for the naturals and ebony sharps. The organ remained in Birmingham Conservatoire for 11 years, until Nicholson & Co. was again commissioned to move the organ, this time to the Conservatoire's new home (now the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire). This was completed in 2017. The 2017 relocation work included a cleaning of all pipework and further repairs (but still not restoration) to the soundboards which had developed new splits. New leather buttons were fitted throughout the action. Some pictures can be found at http://www.nicholsonorgans.co.uk/pf/birmingham-conservatoire/ The leatherwork is all fine, none of it being older than 20. Anyone considering the organ should plan for the soundboards to be thoroughly restored, as they have had numerous partial repairs to splits, but otherwise the organ should quite happily be dismantled and re-erected without the need for other restoration work. My personal observation, which I think is shared by many, is that the organ is of greater historical significance than musical value; interesting but not altogether beautiful. It is voiced for a small room and would struggle to fill a large space. Some minor tonal changes appear to have been made at some stage in the organ's life e.g.. there is a Quinte [sic] 2 2/3 that is actually a Larigot. I hope our benevolent hosts won't mind me joking that we are getting quite good at moving it now, so if anyone is interested.... Andrew Caskie Managing Director, Nicholson & Co.
  3. The website had sustained a mobile redirection hack - it was working fine for desktop browsers, but mobile and tablet browsers were being redirected. Perhaps someone hoping to inspire us to to leave the country! Hopefully fixed now. Andrew Caskie Nicholson & Co. Ltd
  4. Two forthcoming performances of Messiaen - La Nativité du Seigneur, by Andrew Caskie (Palmerston Place Church, Edinburgh). Both with free admission and with readings. All welcome! Saturday 28 November, 7.30pm - Dunfermline Abbey (http://www.npor.org.uk/NPORView.html?RI=C01096) Saturday 5 December, 7.30pm - Palmerston Place Church, Edinburgh (http://www.npor.org.uk/NPORView.html?RI=D03129)
  5. The St John's Keswick organ is indeed lovely, but it isn't a patch on the glorious 1906 II/18 H&H in Whitehaven URC, 30 miles away on the Cumbrian west coast. Not being in such a tourist spot it isn't so widely known, but it's the finest small Romantic organ I've ever played. Every stop on it is voiced to perfection, and playing it feels like driving a vintage Bentley. Specification was designed by both Lt Col Dixon and Alfred Hollins - see spec and pics at http://www.npor.org.uk/NPORView.html?RI=N03535.
  6. caskie

    Swell pedals

    St Bees ('Father' Willis) has what might best be described as pneumatic ratchet expression pedals for both Swell and Solo boxes. They are off to the RH side. Like a ratchet swell they are weighted to return to the top (closed) position, and one depresses the pedal to open the box. To get it to remain at any position other than closed, you have to remove your foot from the pedal very quickly: the idea is that a pneumatic 'ratchet' then 'catches' the pedal and holds it at that position. To release it, you depress v slightly and then control its inherent return upwards, just like with a mechanical ratchet. They, and the whole St Bees organ, are in a poor state of repair at present, so they sometimes fall a good bit closed before catching! Rothwell used the same devices: you can see a picture of these pedals on the NPOR survey for the organ formerly in Craigiebank Church, Dundee, at http://www.npor.org.uk/NPORView.html?RI=E00085.
  7. caskie

    Swell pedals

    All three Infinite Speed and Gradation pedals have been restored and retained at the McEwan Hall, Edinburgh (1897 Hope-Jones; 1953 Willis; 1980 Rushworth & Dreaper; 2014 Forth Pipe Organs) during the major restoration of that instrument last year - http://www.npor.org.uk/NPORView.html?RI=C01272. Prior to the restoration, the shutter positions were indicated by Smith fuel gauges (complete with E and F!) but these have been replaced by horizontal white LED strips.
  8. There are two such organs around Edinburgh, one of which has the cancel feature Colin Pykett mentions. The Portobello instrument is at present available for rehoming - PM if interested. St James', Portobello (1934) - http://www.npor.org.uk/NPORView.html?RI=C01253 Granton Parish Church (1936) - http://www.npor.org.uk/NPORView.html?RI=N11946 Both NPOR surveys have lots of photos.
  9. Here’s a few Grace, Harvey – Three Psalm-Tune Postludes Harwood, Basil – Two Preludes on old English Psalm Tunes, Op. 52 Howells, Herbert – Psalm Preludes, two sets of three Kee, Cor - Inleidingen tot de Psalmen (contains 20 preludes) Leighton, Kenneth – Martyrs, Op. 73 (duet) Maxwell Davies, Peter – first of ‘Three Organ Voluntaries’ is titled Psalm 124 Milner, Arthur – Meditation on Psalm 21 Milner, Arthur – Two Meditations on Psalms Reubke, Julius – Sonata on Psalm 94 Sweelinck, Jan Pieterszoon – Psalms 116 and 140 Whitlock, Percy – Seven Sketches on Verses from the Psalms Wood, Charles – Sixteen Preludes on Melodies from the English and Scottish Psalters Wood, Charles – Three Preludes on Melodies from the Genevan Psalter
  10. caskie


    The chorus mixtures at Stirling were mucked around with in the 1970s and to my mind really spoil the ff choruses, sticking out like sore thumbs. But if you keep it quiet there's lots of good stuff to explore. The R&D in the Reid Memorial Church, Edinburgh (http://www.npor.org.uk/NPORView.html?RI=N11959) has not been tweaked and is therefore, to my mind, more enjoyable to play. It doesn't have the Burmese Gong that Stirling does, however! Anyone who wants to know more about the lovely organs in Edinburgh ought to buy the splendid 'Organs of Edinburgh' book published three years ago or so, which has lots of colour photos and four CDs of 22 different instruments around the city - see http://www.edinburghorganists.org/Pages/CDProject.aspx for more details including a complete track listing. The McEwan organ is currently in bits, being comprehensively rebuilt by Forth Pipe Organs (new soundboards, Swell chorus reeds, etc.). The NPOR entries for Edinburgh are unusually up-to-date and accurate so it's well worth a browse having searched for Edinburgh. There's lots of photographs too.
  11. Apologies for resurrecting an old thread, but I've just come across it having recently learned this fine piece. Although the respondents are correct to say that the octave couplers would typically read through (unless there were separate octave/sub octave inter-manual couplers, in which case they wouldn't), the question is academic, as it's a misreading of the score were this to occur. The opening section is antiphonal between the Swell strings (with sub octave) and Choir diap/dulciana (no Sw to Ch). One is primed at the start to prepare an 8' flute on the Great, with Sw to Great drawn, but when one eventually plays on the Great for the first time (bottom of p.2) the Swell registration is changed to retire the sub octave coupler and strings, replacing them with a Geigen.
  12. Music for a Summer Evening Organ recital by Andrew Caskie Tuesday 4 June 2013, 7.30pm (free admission) Palmerston Place Church, Edinburgh EH12 5AA Veni Creator – Nicolas de Grigny (with plainchant sung alternatim by men from the choir) Meditation: Love Unknown – Francis Jackson Berceuse à la mémoire de Louis Vierne – Pierre Cochereau, transc. F. Blanc Trio Sonata No. 6 in G major BWV 530 – Johann Sebastian Bach Free Fantasia on O Zion, haste and How firm a foundation – William Bolcom Mon cœur s'ouvre à ta voix (from Samson et Delilah, Op. 47) – Camille Saint-Saëns, transc. E.H. Lemare Variations sur un Noël, Op. 20 - Marcel Dupré Organ - 1992 IIP/29 Wells-Kennedy Partnership (details) Location map www.palmerstonplacechurch.com
  13. John Kitchen is playing Alan Gray's Sonata No. 2 in A flat this Saturday evening in Edinburgh - 7.30pm at Reid Memorial Church. Details at http://www.edinburghorganists.org/Documents/ESO%20recital%20diary.pdf
  14. Hi Can anyone offer a definitive view on the articulation of the first two quaver chords in Henry Smart’s Postlude in D? I have the piece in three editions; one has the quavers slurred, one has them unmarked, and the other edition has them staccato. I prefer the latter (so that the emphasis is more definitely on the first crotchet chord), but in a couple of recordings I’ve heard, both performers have gone for the slurring. Thanks for any thoughts.
  15. Always worth trying Google: searching for "Percy Whitlock" and "thumb" throws up all sorts of things, including the following found at http://www.stpaulscathedral.org.au/images/uploads/Newsletter%20May%202010.pdf A deformity of his right hand gave Whitlock a thumb which was longer and thinner than his left hand thumb. He used this thumb to great advantage, as it was very easy for him to “thumb down” onto a lower manual, thus enabling him to readily play on three manuals at the one time. Some of his music exploits this technique.
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